Music for work motivation

Music for work motivation

I recently finished a pretty intensive content migration project. After uploading squillions of Word and PDF documents, I went from being a person who hadn’t previously listened to music in the office, to a dubstep, house and synthpop fan. I think I’d liked these music genres all along, but the freelance gig helped to galvanise my passion. I have played drums for many years, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I got hooked on these genres. It didn’t stop there. For almost two months I became that person in the office who never takes their earphones out. They were practically fused to my head. I do regret my antisocial behaviour, but I listened to a lot of good music along the way. On top of this, I found that my work performance was linked specifically to the type of music I was listening to. For example, I love listening to Philip Glass but his melodies fill me with such sadness that my motivation enters the minus numbers. Conversely, The Prodigy seem to inject my personality and productivity with edge. As a result of my experience, I decided to list my top ten tracks for work motivation. They are as follows:

1. Cephei – Deadmau5 – For uploading documents to a Content Management System

This track is great if you want to feel like any move you make next has potential. I remember how my blood flooded with energy when I first heard this, and its effect never seems to subside. I play it when I want to kick ass in the office, in a completely administrative sense obviously. Imagine what you could achieve by feeling this good. Until I heard this, and other tracks by Joel Zimmerman, I barely ever listened to progressive-house music. Here I am, now a committed fan.

2. First It Giveth – Queens of the Stone Age – For spread-sheeting

A little piece of melodic thunder, First It Giveth makes me want to dance, drink beer and hug strangers. Like many people, I wouldn’t deign to perform any of these actions in an office. I warn you – not based on previous experience – the authorities will likely be summoned. Unlike some other pieces of music I have listened to, this track actually makes Excel sheet tasks slightly less hellish than they truly are. I also want to make a special mention of the little instrumental breaks with the snare and acoustic guitar. These tasteful sections help to pull the elastic of the song back so it can be released through the hooks of the verse and the chorus. Overall, this track is prime working material.

3. Kyoto – SKRILLEX – For general document checking

My first experience of Dubstep wasn’t a pleasant one. I was in Tallinn on a stag weekend feeling incredibly uncomfortable in a huge, smoke-filled club surrounded by broken glass and boiling bodies. I had the fear and couldn’t see more than two feet in front of me in some cases. I was also going Tee-total at the time because I had the irrational idea of dying from further alcohol. Now I simply rely on a sudden surge of chest pain to act as the sign to start drinking iced water. In essence, Skrillex is a high quality brand of dubstep / electro house, made with choice drum compositions and thoughtful hooks. If you’ve ever picked up drum sticks then this may well be your bag. Kyoto is a must for office power, with a tight rap groove and tasteful jabs of keyboard. I’ve made some of my most elaborate sandwiches to this track.

4. Violent Youth – Crystal Castles – For document reordering

Oh the goosebumps. My ears ate Crystal Castles albums for three weeks straight. Violent Youth kept me awake – and dare I say alive – through long stints of reordering PDF and Word documents in Moodle. Ouch, sometimes it was like kicking a paperweight down a long corridor. I kept motivated by the beautiful, sad melody of this track, in tandem with the lyrics. The juxtaposition of disturbing subject matter and positive dance beat made me bob my head while clicking up down arrows.

5. Mr. Ssa (싸군) – PsyFive – For use during office conversations

The only thing worse than moving a plastic mouse for a living, is discussing it with colleagues. The sad thing is, when you’re a contractor, you spend most of your time adding acquaintances to the Facebook ice pile. To make up for this social void, it is important not to top up too much on songs with a high goose bump count, and instead, go for something that is simply fun. If you can put up with the jokey Korean beer and shopping advert at the start of PsyFive, then I recommend giving this album a go. I found myself getting hooked to the Korean syllable structure mixed with a break beat. Psy’s party personality cuts through this album, and the opening track, Mr. Ssa (싸군) is reason enough to make a friend like Psy.

6. Falling – HAIM – For not working

With an irregular heartbeat to start, Falling is the perfect track if you don’t want to do anything. I tried to work while listening to this and failed. It is a rich mix of Annie Lennox style vocals and Toto drum references. Thus I found I could only sit back and enjoy the bass lines and touches of vocal melody. For the cynics among us it is only too easy to hear the references to the eighties palate of sounds. However, I wasn’t put off. For those funky, shuddering bass lines alone, it is worth including on my list.

7. Girls – The Prodigy – For picking up the pace

This is dangerous for people who want to stay still in their seat. I don’t think there are currently any rules about in-office gyration, but I’ve often seen office space as a tempting opportunity for cartwheeling. After you’ve been awash with a tight burst of emotion with Falling, a few gyrations might be the trick. Girls is ideally matched to this activity. Not that you need a musical excuse to do this, but Girls is a track that doesn’t mess around. Twenty six seconds in and you’ll pick up the slack with no problem.

8. The Way of All Flesh – Gojira – For rapid email sending

Okay, you’ve been sitting on your hands avoiding that barrage of emails you can’t be bothered to answer. It’s time to bring out the French death metal. These guys are not your average growling, church burning, weight lifting, Jägermeister metal heads. Why? They know how to write hooks, thus transcending genre to prove that great song writing is all that matters. The drummer has the coolest name on the planet: Mario Duplantier. All our names pale by comparison. The beat in this track is technically known as innovative awesomeness. This song is a prime example of their ability to catch the listener with a powerful hook, then release them at just the right time. Do this enough times, you’ve got what’s called a hot record. Please don’t be scared non-metal fans. Give them a try, I promise it won’t be like cough mixture.

9. Logic Bomb – The Algorithm – For desk de-cluttering

If music was a leaf blower it would be The Algorithm. This mix of dubstep, drum and bass, trance, progressive metal – okay, everything but twelve bar blues – has travelled from the brain of Rémi Gallego, who either has a lot of creative energy, or is insane, but like many of these things it’s probably an unhealthy combination of the two. Either way, I like the output. This guy can shift drum patterns, melodies and hooks – and even has the time to throw in recurring melodic themes – like no one else I’ve ever heard. The best thing is, it’s pretty seamless. Anyone with ears should take a dose of the Algorithm, but I warn you, it’s not for the sleep deprived.

10. Swan Lake – Finale – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – For total immersion

If you ever find yourself wondering how music can reduce people to tears, then it’s necessary to consider such fine vintage as Tchaikovsky. No wonder this man had a beard. Frankly, if I was that good, I would probably be too busy and talented to shave. I’m convinced he carried the burden of the world’s pain and exultation in his head, letting it out in musical form. Without doubt, this is one of the most uplifting pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s always a privilege, but be careful. The score is so powerful and well constructed, you may find yourself making mistakes at work. You could send someone into battle on this stuff.

A brief conclusion

Make sure you test the boundaries of your office environment before breaking out the moves. Get a feel for the physical space. I find that music has the power to carve out an entirely convincing world, a little planet in my head constructed of pure inspiration. It’s worth throwing in a few gyrations, desk taps, or even head bobs to see if it’s welcome, or if you’re busting corporate etiquette wide open. You may work in the kind of place where you need to think on your feet, or listen out for information passing around the space you inhabit. If you’re in telephone sales, the only thing you’re going to have attached to your ear is a telephone. In which case your senses are a tool for business, not for pleasure. I have worked in many office environments over the last decade, and honestly, I wish I’d listened harder to music from day one.

Jonathan Markwood’s debut solo release

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Music may be the greatest conveyor of human emotion, and with this in your brain, take Jonathan Markwood’s latest solo album, ‘Welcome To Planet Earth’. If you’ve heard his previous work under the Hoo-Hah Conspiracy umbrella then you’ve no doubt followed his musical journey, and what you’ll realise is this album cuts closer to the bone than any other. The first track on the album, Live Until You Die opens with hovering synth before the bass stalks to the first lines. “Robert Divine when out of his mind, the holes closed in behind him”. Markwood begins with characteristic narrative style, while at the same time signalling a new direction to his work. “Take my advice, You want to keep your soul alive, Don’t think twice, You better learn to live until you die”.

Forty Five combines down to earth reasoning on the realities of life with dark humour. “I’m just a normal man, I have a family, I have a bank account. I looked you up, I know where you live, And when you least expect, You’ll get back what you give”. The pop-funk guitar riff and thumping beat drive this song all the way to an Alto Reed-esque saxophone break. The final lyrics, “Hand me my forty five” perfectly convey the juxtaposition of comic and sinister.

Superman is honest, unpretentious and bloody catchy. It turns up the volume on the overall theme of life taking a positive turn. The lyrics, “I was so stranded and so lonely, With only the loneliest plan” have a universal quality topped off with a deeply personal spin. “Then along came you to me, I need to learn how to be a good man”. It is a beautiful and bouncy celebration of bringing new life into the world. When I heard this for the first time I was reminded of Johnny Depp’s meditations on fatherhood. “It’s all about perspective. When your baby comes along you go: “Oh, that’s what it’s all about.” This track made me want to jump for joy.

Strange Things filters the past through the knowing mind of the present. In vocal style it references David Bowie and Peter Gabriel, and musically it resembles a montage through a smoke filled London club where people try to cure ennui with pills. The guitar riff and subtle variation on a disco beat make for an unsettling and original track. This is balanced by Markwood’s natural ability to see pain through a humorous lens. “Everybody needs someone to need them, My analyst and me didn’t hit it off”.

The central track of the album, Welcome To Planet Earth (Beautiful Girl) is further testament to Markwood’s musical and lyrical talent. It is free of complication, and if I am wrong shoot me, but I believe it is a love letter to his newborn daughter.

An Unfortunate Display of Emotion is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It cleverly combines an infectious, John Deacon-esque bass line in the verse with a chorus that shifts into gorgeous funk rhythm guitar and rich vocals. This track is yet another example of Jonathan’s gift for changing style, but because of his craftsmanship, this goes seemingly unnoticed.

His chameleon talent is on display again in Mary Shelley, where the acoustic guitar and natural drum sound underpin Markwood’s vision of the world. “Mary Shelley has deserted me, She created me, She must have hated me”. This powerful chorus points to the romantic and gothic sides of Markwood’s multifaceted personality.

Fast Car is brave and brazen with a chorus that I don’t want to get out of my head. This is mainly down to the use of falsetto that Markwood did not explore enough in previous albums. The trombone melody at the end reminded me of many a brilliant musical arrangement from ‘Trombone Shorty’. There was also a fantastic little drum break mixed in with the chorus approximately three minutes in that I loved, so this gets its own mention.

The final song on the album, What Flows Through Blood glues the overriding theme of the record together. “The road is glass, Our body’s sand, We’re carriers across this land”. These lyrics are suffused with the realisation that our time here is fleeting. But I do not feel sad, because the mood of this track is hopeful. The chorus lays life’s true priorities bare for the listener. “What flows through blood is all of your love and mine”. This is not simply a universal striving after the tangible, but Markwood’s view of what matters in life.

This album is Jonathan Markwood’s most moving material to date. I have listened thoroughly to the two previous albums, ‘Tips & Tricks for the Modern Age’, and ‘No Light After Dark’, and I feel like I’ve witnessed the narrative arc in his life and music. It is difficult to truly compare his albums to anything I’ve previously heard, because, like all of his songs, they are uniquely his.

Welcome back to music Jonathan, it’s been too long: http://www.jonathanmarkwood.com

Words by Phillip Cogger

Cocos Lovers – The Wilmington Arms – 13/01/2010

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By 8.35pm Cocos Lovers had set their instruments up in the middle of the room, the stage behind them undisturbed. I observed this process with a knot in my stomach, the remaining audience members in greater knots of expectation. I’d never heard, or even heard of them before. I speculated on the collection on the collection of percussive trinkets fastened to a weather beaten orange bass drum. I wondered at which point they would be brought into use and with what degree of force. The man behind the drum placed the banjo on his lap with fatherly care. My attention shifted to the violinist, lead guitarist, bass player, rhythm guitarist and flute player.

A smile fixed permanently on my face even before they began to play and didn’t leave until they’d finished their set. A semicircle of bosoms rose and fell. The girls to the right of me filled the room with a blush of pagan vibrancy. I felt the wrench of discovery even if it wasn’t my own. The grim reality of alcoholic abstinence subsided. So did the narcissism and brief gratifications of working London. I forgot myself and we forgot each other. The opening track, Time to Stand had the power to do this.

Cocos Lovers have supported Mumford and Sons, 6 Day Riot and Alessis Ark. I am familiar with none of these bands and only gave Mumford and Sons a quick listen after the show. What matters is they make you fall for an aesthetic attributable to them alone. This goes beyond trend, association, and the great grey seaside of the internet. I was lucky enough to catch this performance. In many respects, it was most random that I did. I spoke with them afterwards and they were modest. The audience and I were truly humbled.

The band are set to release their album Johannes, in March with a release party taking place at The Astor Theatre in Deal in Kent. They will be playing at Bearded Theory Festival, Small World Festival and Sunrise Festival throughout May and June. I myself plan to be squeezed up against a stage or standing among the trodden grass to repeat the experience of the 13 January at The Wilmington Arms.

http://www.cocoslovers.com

Words by Phillip Cogger

Everything Everything – Institute of Contemporary Arts – 04/11/09

The Institute of Contemporary Arts upper floor bar is occupied by serial daters, couples unwinding in post-coital serenity, recovering divorcee born again alternative post-punk enthusiasts, and twenty something’s in circulation stabbing leg wear, shoes collectively exhibiting the transience of past and present fashion. Both the innards of the bar and serving point are heavily pregnant with soft mood pinks, greens, turquoise blues and purples. I am sitting on an orange plastic chair bolted to the floor. The hand cut chips with aioli sauce arrive late and are beyond divine.

By 21:45 I’m butting past loiterers and semi-fans to position myself in prime location when a ginger nest riding the ears of Lee Evans rises from meditation into my line of judgement. Jonathan (voice, guitar, laptop) negotiates equipment to plant duct tape on a herd of cables advancing off the stage. Alex (guitar, voice) and Jeremy (bass, voice and keys) cross over and pause to restore balance to microphone stands and amplifier settings as well as to fine tune their instruments.

They open with ‘Tin (the manhole)’, the chorister and his guitar under an expanding cylinder of white light, the perfect effect for what is an ethereal and haunting synergy of cleverly arranged sampling and vocal sections. This track drew me hypnotically in, innovative in its conception, stunning in its delivery. I was not familiar with the following track, but by no means did I attempt to mime unfamiliar lyrics out of the corner of my mouth like an anus at an armpit party. I merely relished material which (new to my ears) left me all the more invigorated. Next came ‘Suffragette Suffragette’ (which like the promise of dry land in the distance beyond Britain’s cultural maelstrom) show cased the methodical genius of a drummer in peak condition. The surrounding bodies were in fits and jolts about the floor in front of the stage. They out perform their own recordings effortlessly. Everything Everything possess stage presence the likes of which cannot be formulated by divine intervention or pills, but through refinement and rigorous attention to detail, a gut conviction in approach, style and execution.

I turned round and the place was rammed. ‘Hiawatha Domed’ launched an already platinum show into orbit and I was finally going ape with the crowd who were busting nuts in circular around me. The band became something new for me from that point onwards. Certain chemical elements unfathomable draw you to a group or set of musicians, I don’t know what it is? Generally it defies explanation because if you could find the words it wouldn’t be worth the silence. I got the same spinal shivers when I listened to Florence and the Machine for the first time or ‘Silent Alarm’ by Bloc Party (whose stylistic approach incidentally is similar to that of Everything Everything). ‘NASA is on your side’ is not the band’s Magnum Opus yet still was I hit with the espresso wings of childish joy.

It was at this point they began to skilfully read the audience with the piercing glance of professionals. Not that they can’t do this while they’re performing, but they approach quietly, they’re not loud or brash; it’s a wry smile a grin of knowing.

They haven’t been around long enough to cut loose one of their biggest hits, ‘My Keys Your Boyfriend’ but for a minute I thought they might not play it. One of the band’s biggest box tickers (not to mention sexiest music videos, a plethora of scattered hotties) this track could be used as musical CPR at any after wedding get together.

Then it happened. They left the stage. Then again I had caught mention of ‘the last one’. After eloping they returned to play ‘Photoshop Handsome’, sweaty piles to the left and right of me, perspiration soaked digital cameras. My eye then caught a professional photographer at the front of the stage who I lamped, and making-like-tree with the equipment out the venue I got hijacked, receiving multiple bindings of tape to the legs, arms and mouth, bundled into a glossy black BMW and thrown out in, hmm, Ealing Broadway? If you think that sounds amazing go see Everything Everything, they are twice times amazing.

http://www.everything-everything.co.uk

Words by Phillip Cogger

Solid Gold – Bible Thumper

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Label: Solid Gold

Released: July 2009

Bible Thumper brings to mind the watery drug induced dance moves of one encased in the balmy atmosphere of a nightclub. The walls are stagnant with alcohol, bass lines and the promise of erotic liaisons. I myself am drunk to the point where despatching coins aimlessly across a sticky bar to the bemused and cynical expressions of the staff seems the only logical progression.

This pulse-hardy addition to Solid Golds first full length album Bodies of Water, is set to kick-start rumblings in the creative quarters of Minnesota’s electronic scene, not to mention fill the floors of any occupancy of late night entertainment.

My initial concern that the novelty would wear off after a few runs was abated by an accompanying video directed by John Carlucci, which features the be-whiskered trio getting rainbow faced and probing the water-coloured significance of a strobe lit swimming pool in sleeveless shirts.

Zak Coulter’s sensuously somnambulant vocal style seems to dilute the seriousness of tightly woven groove-centric lyrics: “Woke from the fright in the middle of the night with hands that smell like gasoline, but I’m too cold to burn.” Naturally a cynic about the song writing process (due in no small part to a fellow musician explaining the need to prioritise marketing over rehearsal time) I won’t attempt a: who-wrote-what-and-why-and-placed-it-where-and-for-what-reason analysis. I will say however that the whirring mournful alarm effect in tandem with brooding, fatalistic and philosophical lyrics create a dark and welcoming undercurrent that encourage me to want to review their whole album.

http://www.solidgoldband.com

Words by Phillip Cogger

Bjork’s melancholic master tones

BjorkVoltaic

Record Label – One Little Indian

Release Date – May 25 2009

Voltaic refers to five separate releases of related material from singer-songwriter Bjork’s sixth studio album VOLTA.

The melancholic master tones of this ravishing Reykjavikian have once again tempted me back into that weird and wonderful pop cavern – a place from which I am currently reluctant to move.

One can’t passively absorb Bjork and expect to take it in. It’s like purchasing a new pair of shoes. You need to get used to walking around in them, get a feel for the material and only then can you get comfortable.

Bjork is and always has been a fascinating pop cult. Unlike other popular musicians of her standing she possesses genius without clear boundaries, a consistency similar to organised chaos, most of which remains starkly present in the latest releases. Bjork’s delivery demonstrates a beholding of something beautifully burdensome. The art, the noise and the notes get thrown out, acting as a form of self extrication and a frustration harnessed together by volatile electric currents. There is no denying her originality of style and having listened to this current material I have made somewhat of a re-discovery, stepping back into the world of alternative electronica once more.

Disc 1 – Songs from the Volta tour performed live at Olympic Studios

Wanderlust

Bjork’s propensity for re-invention invites the listener to explore every creative spark including the gaps between the sparks. Wanderlust is no exception and is testament to her evolution as a songwriter.

I am leaving this harbour
Giving urban a farewell
Its habitants seem too keen in God
I cannot stomach their rights and wrongs

The lyrics, the delivery and the song structure are chameleon and never stay still.

Wanderlust! Relentlessly craving
Wanderlust! Peel off the layers
Until we get to the core

These lyrics coming from any other singer, under any other circumstances (I know of), would be clichéd almost horribly so. But as I hear these contrasts of calm and frustration I imagine the lyrics and the whole concept to be defiantly marching through music history.

Hunter

According to sources, ‘Hunter’ was inspired by the burden of having to be inspired. In her own words:

“I guess the song’s about when you have a lot of people that work for you and you sort-of have to write songs or people get unemployed, you know? In most cases, it’s inspiring but in that particular song I was pissed off with it. I was ready for a break but it didn’t seem fair on the people I worked with at the time.”

I’m going hunting
I’m the hunter
I’ll bring back the goods
But I don’t know when

Distaste for sharing the weight of other’s issues is not something the Icelandic singer carries over to all aspects of her life. Why only this year she was using her position to aid her homeland’s economy by creating the ‘Bjork Fund’. The fund will invest in socially and environmentally sustainable companies and result in greater self sufficiency (and fingers crossed) a sounder economy.

The Pleasure Is All Mine

This track contains pan pipe effects created on a synthesizer which governs the beginning of the track until Bjork’s euphoric blend of moaning and high pitched singing tie in with slow electronic sensor pad rhythms and horns to top it all off making it altogether perfectly placed.

Innocence

This track is quintessentially Bjork like queuing is quintessentially British. She executes the vocals with a distinct counter rhythmic irregularity, with sometimes too many syllables packed in and words being hung onto and dragged out to full capacity.

Army Of Me

It’s been many a year since I listened to Nine Inch Nails but this track is identical to the sort of material Trent Reznor would pump out as well as sounding like the long lost illegitimate brain child of Aphex Twin and the Dust Brothers.

I Miss You

Bjork turns the conventional sense of longing on its head (as she does most preconceptions or ideas) with the use of lyrics such as:

I miss you, but I haven’t met you yet
So special, but it hasn’t happened yet
You are gorgeous, but I haven’t met you yet
I remember, but it hasn’t happened yet

The idea of missing someone is applied in an almost prophetic sense as if to say she is expecting someone but is not sure of time, place or indeed the individual. The track itself suffers musically from a lack of substantial melodic or rhythmic backing. The lyrics stand alone in front of weak programming – but then I’ve always wanted more guitar and growl behind a singer of her style.

Earth Intruders is arguably one of the most straight-out-entertaining tracks on the album. Tribal electronic beats along with outstanding vocals help to bolster symphonic bursts throughout the track. I truly recommend this one, her voice is superb.

All Is Full Of Love

We are reminded that to live is to be receptive to minute detail as well as grand scale. This track is an undeniable classic and demonstrates the power and scope of Bjork’s work.

Pagan Poetry

Whether it’s the oriental harp string melody or what sounds to me like an orchestral double bass attached to a kick drum pedal, this track dusts off the covers of convention. It is well mixed, well thought out, with execution that is second to none and Bjork continues to explore her inner and outer self and manages to reinforce the mystery and quality of the record.

Vertebrae By Vertebrae

There is a definite strangeness at this point (if that is comparably possible). This track pushes the listener into experiencing a further Avant-garde side to an already alternative artist. In other words, this is going to take some getting used to and some growing into to enjoy. Whatever you do, don’t start the album with this track.

Declare Independence

This track was released as a single on January 1st 2008 and Bjork dedicated a live performance of the song in Shanghai, China, to the Tibetan freedom movement which caused international controversy. This only goes to prove that Bjork doesn’t stop at assaulting photo journalists at airports. According to another source the song was originally an instrumental by British musician Mark Bell who is a producer of electronic house music and has collaborated with Depeche Mode.

The track itself is of an extreme calibre positioned as a harsh contrast to well, anything essentially before or after. I would personally describe it as sounding like a one on one battle between an ATARI and a Commodore 64. With vocals.

Disc 2 – The Volta Mixes

Earth Intruders (XXXChang Remix)


The Volta Mixes
more than stand on their own merit and are for the most part superb. They could be seen as the transition point from stage performance to dance floor and this could not be a more natural direction for them to take. The XXXChange Remix of Earth Intruders is by no means an exception to the rule. I definitely hope to be dancing to this in a club at some point in the near future.

Innocence (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)

This floor-filler comes courtesy of Simian Mobile Disco, an English production and remix team consisting of James Ford and James Anthony Shaw who have also worked with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Peaches and the Klaxons. On the whole it is a dynamic and fruitful use of the talents of two highly demanded producers and of course Bjork’s much transferable style.

Declare Independence (Matthew Herbert Remix)

Matthew Herbert, also known as Herbert, Doctor Rockit, (oh please!) Radio Boy and Mr Vertigo is a British musician who produces avant-garde electronic work. He has produced remixes for artists such as Moloko and REM. I cannot pass judgement on his other work, but do not warm to his take on this particular track.

Wanderlust (Ratatat Remix)

Guitarist Mike Stroud and synth driver/producer Evan Mast are the minds behind the Ratatat project. The two New Yorkers have toured with bands such as Interpol, Franz Ferdinand and The Super Furry Animals which to my mind would probably reveal an impressive catalogue of material. I like it, you’ll like it. It’s better than Matthew Herbert.

The Dull Flame of Desire (Modeselektor Remix For Girls)


Modeselektor is an electronic band formed in Berlin consisting of members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. This is a consistently pleasing record. However, I wish the male voice had been removed as it does nothing for the track.

Earth Intruders (Lexx Remix)

I cannot work out who Lexx are, or whether the name pertains to anything music related. I do know however of my opinion on this one and my opinion is that it is not very good.

Innocence (Graeme Sinden Remix)

This track would easily find a home in clubs up and down the country, but is not particularly remarkable. Bjork’s vocals come across as an appendage rather than an added bonus on this occasion.

Declare Independence (Ghostigital Remix)

Einar Orn Benediktsson is the man behind the remix on this record. Benediktsson is a singer and trumpet player and has worked with alternative rock band The Sugar Cubes who Bjork was also a member of. The harsh erratic rhythms and atonal sampling seem throughout to be in complete contradiction to Bjork’s power ballad style.

The Dull Flame Of Desire (Modeselektor Remix For Boys)


Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are back in the production seat for a track that wouldn’t be out of place in a German ex-army bunker turned nightclub. This is relatively entertaining, but not good enough to cover up for the return of that monotonous and totally irritating male voice.

The remaining remixes on the record don’t prove to be even close to the calibre of those produced by the likes of the Simian Mobile Disco or Ratatat who are by far the most melodically advanced contributors.

7/10

http://www.bjork.com

Words by Phillip Cogger

Titus Andronicus Single – ‘Titus Andronicus’

titus andronicus

Release date: December 2008 (UK)

Label: Merok

This track is a combination of muzzy melodies, straight shooting seemingly heart on sleeve lyrics that pulse with drunken adolescent frustration and oodles of raw energy. The start of the self titled single conjured the expectation of something crafted in rather epic rock fashion. But that’s the point though is it not? Although clearly well rehearsed, it lands upon us like it was thrashed out and recorded in half an hour with rudimentary trips to wherever the beer was.

The American accents are a novelty, which of course detracts from the not-so-charming toilet water of those great cultural pinnacles the Sex Pistols. Titus Andronicus deliver punk with a hazy texture and genuine feeling that entertains and reaches a little deeper than say The Pigeon Detectives. It’s like having something really American with dirt, flexibility and some originality thrown athwart the vast grey matter that is the music industry. Having listened to some of their other tracks, I think ‘fast forward shoe gazing’ is one way of describing (not pigeonholing) their sound. They also share a similarity with Cage The Elephant that is by no means limiting.
What really matters is they are refreshing, and so is the record.

http://www.titusandronicus.net

Words by Phillip Cogger